I know that what I do isn't right
September 7, 2020 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Cereal killers, criminals and culprits of Mefi, will you confess to what you can't stop, what you love to do? Do you milk first or cereal first? Do you aftermilk? What are your Cereal Rules? Tell us your innermost cereal secrets, triumphs, and regrets here, and help Metafilter stay afloat with sponsored chat posts for Mefi fundraising month. Suggest the next chatfilter topic and make your bid here!
posted by taz (113 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Metafilter is auctioning extremely rare and precious chatfilter topics for the month of September in order to raise funds. This one is our first! Read more here.
posted by taz at 9:01 AM on September 7, 2020

I really liked cornflakes as a kid but I didn't like having to eat multiple bowls and reusing or wasting milk.

I solved this problem very effectively by filling the bowl, packing/crunching the flakes down with my hands, then filling more. This gave me twice as much corn flakes with the same milk and bowl: win-win!
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:06 AM on September 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

My favorite cereal is a mix of equal parts Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. My favorite single cereal used to be Kashi Black Currant Walnut, but it was discontinued. You can fake it using Kashi flakes, freeze-dried black currants, and walnuts, which I do occasionally.

My guilty cereal pleasure will always be Cracklin' Oat Bran, which is expensive, incredibly unhealthy despite the name, and probably ecologically damaging (palm oil is a major ingredient) but so good.
posted by jedicus at 9:07 AM on September 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

I can't buy cereal because I will eat the entire box in an afternoon.
posted by simmering octagon at 9:11 AM on September 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Plain bran flake sans raisins or other stuff, bit of milk and the barest sprinkle of evil death (sugar).
posted by sammyo at 9:14 AM on September 7, 2020

Gonna go back to regular cheerios soon when stone fruit season is over, but cinnamon cheerios with peaches has been one of my few new pleasures this stupid covid summer.

Very little milk, like a couple of tablespoons, so you get a little cereal softening without sogginess.
posted by the primroses were over at 9:18 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Grape Nuts is the king of cereals. Yes, I am a dad.
posted by saladin at 9:21 AM on September 7, 2020 [12 favorites]

Listen, it's a texture game. I'm sensative. Soggy will not --cannot-- be tolerated. I eat dry cereal, with a refreshing mug of milk (lactose free, thanks) on the side. The cereal changes but nothing fruit flavored, period. I also never eat it for breakfast. This is for when I want a sweet treat of an evening. Right now it's cinnamon toast crunch. Often honey nut cheerios.

I am what I am and I will not apologize.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 9:23 AM on September 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I will sometimes go no further in cereal preparation than shovelling dry handfuls into my mouth from the box. but I chip -clip the bag afterwards, I'm not a monster.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Frosted flakes with very thinly sliced banana is the only way.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

When my high-strung little dog was being a picky eater, they got Friskies (tasty tasty low-quality cat food) in with kibble. I called it Lucky Charms, and they would pick out all the Friskies to eat first.
posted by aniola at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

We didn't have any fun cereal in my house growing up, so it was do what you can with sweeteners if you wanted a rush. For a while we also didn't have any good sweeteners, so...Grape Nuts with a couple packets of Equal was my thing for a while. Just enough milk to kinda saturate the bowl of gravel after a few minutes of soaking, without leaving much milk in. The Equal would just disappear entirely into the admixture, no trace grains in the bowl like would happen with sugar. It shouldn't have been a thing a kid would like but it somehow was.
posted by cortex at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2020

Soggy cornflakes all. the. way. Cereal first, followed by a little milk and a few minutes of soaking. Delightful
posted by travelingthyme at 9:32 AM on September 7, 2020

obligatory Green Jelly song NSFBreakfast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n-9uq_lyRQ
posted by wmo at 9:35 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Up through my teens, mom refused to buy super-sugary cereal; we never had anything in the house beyond Cheerios, Corn Flakes, and Raisin Bran. So I'd compensate by loading up the bowl with so much sugar that when the cereal was gone I could spoon up the leftover sweet milky sludge. That stopped in my late teens when I started getting little hypoglycemic episodes a few hours after breakfast; after a month or two of that it dawned on me that I was barrelling into diabetes territory. So I cut the sugar-sludge stuff the hell out (along with most other sugar in my diet).

Since then I've pretty much lost my sweet tooth, so I'm happy with a small bowl of granola and yogurt with a few broken-up walnuts (and sometimes some sliced banana if I'm feeling deluxe) on top if I need a quick breakfast.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2020

I worked with a programmer (S/390 and Linux, natch) who used water on his cereal.

Not a lactose thing, just ... preferred water.
posted by aramaic at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Put me down for "soggy", when I was a kid. But only a moderate amount of sog, not complete sog. It was a delicate balancing act, making sure the cereal was kept stirred enough during eating that nothing got too milklogged.

As an adult, I only eat it dry, when I just want some carbs, because that's the easy option in the office. Usually plain Cheerios, but I will occasionally indulge in Frosted Flakes, although I tend to regret it later when I do.
posted by notoriety public at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2020

So as a Grown Up Adult[tm], I don't really eat cereal anymore. But during a couple of phases of my adult life (my mid twenties and early-mid forties), it was a go-to snack for me. The latter phase probably came about because the local No Frills started carrying this new (to me) brand called Sally's Cereals at a really low introductory discount price. These were really cheap, sold in bags with tastefully muted colours instead of boxes and in varieties that knocked off mimicked various popular brands of cereals.

In any case, my preference is some extremely sugary children's cereal with marshmallows (Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, etc.) cut with something more neutral (Bran Flakes or Corn Flakes, typically) and allowed to get a little soggy so as to not tear up the inside of my mouth with sharp cereal edges.

Also, I like to drink the leftover milk afterward and I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THAT!
posted by suetanvil at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Crunch Berries first, then carefully adding milk around the borders of the bowl so that the cereal bits are weighted down a bit and don't overflow as the milk level rises (also worked brilliantly with Rice Krispies which would overflow uncontrollably). Where I live now there is no Crunch Berry harvest so I am considering importing a huge stash: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019627ESI/ref=pantry_cstm?fpw=pantry
posted by alchemist at 9:45 AM on September 7, 2020

Cereal is always first due to significant differences in specific gravity and absorption rates amongst my Breakfast Pantheon: Grape Nuts, Rice Krispies, Wheat Chex, Multigrain Cheerios and the original big biscuit Shredded Wheat...
posted by jim in austin at 9:46 AM on September 7, 2020

Also, my spouse prefers her cereal completely dry. Just straight out of bowl with a spoon (if we're lucky; otherwise, it's just out of the box). And she silently judges everyone who pours on milk.

It's powerful judgement. If you've ever felt vaguely guilty while pouring milk on cereal, that's her.
posted by suetanvil at 9:47 AM on September 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh, and not long after I reached legal drinking age I tried cereal with beer instead of milk - just because at that age it seems like such a rock'n'roll thing to do. I was very disappointed in the result, even though I used Guinness.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:54 AM on September 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

I am charmed and surprised to find so many Grape Nuts fellow travelers. Cracklin' Oat Bran is one of my favorites but I'm somehow aesthetically unsettled by how much it looks like a bowl of unlinked chain. Would it be better or worse if it were linked? (Oat Chain by the foot, part of this disturbing breakfast.)

I haven't seen it in years, but I miss the old shredded wheat. Not the "mini" wheats that you'd eat six to a bowl, but the giant individually wrapped biscuits where you'd just slam one in a bowl, add milk, and break it up with your spoon.
posted by phooky at 9:59 AM on September 7, 2020 [14 favorites]

I should probably spring for a sock puppet account for this, but what the hell... does anyone else find that their pee smells like malt after eating Wheaties (or off-brand Wheaties, which is the cheapest cereal in my grocery store)?
posted by rikschell at 10:00 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I only ever eat cereal as a dessert(technically I rarely ever eat breakfast of any sort, but I eat a ton of breakfast food) and it's basically always some delicious sugar cereal I'm supposed to pretend is horrible since I am an adult, right now I have Count Chocula. Put it in bowl, put milk on top(lactaid or fake-milk). Honestly I don't think the milk is important, just needs to be cold fluid, I've had cold-water cereal before and it was fine, lukewarm water was the problem version.

The best non-candy type cereal that doesn't feel like a punishment to eat are puffed rice cereals. They last for a really long time too. It's up there with cream of wheat for foods that are good when you're fucking sick and tired of eating goddamn food all day every day just to keep having to be alive.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:01 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cereal first in a chilled bowl. This was a game-changer I learned fairly recently: refrigerate the bowl before serving and the milk stays cold until the end.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 10:01 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Since I'm slightly kinky, Shredded Wheat, because I like a cereal that fights back. A little sugar, a little milk, a lot of power struggle. Delightful!
posted by taz at 10:02 AM on September 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Reading this thread it appears that there is a market for an aggressively hostile cereal brand, and I am in it
posted by phooky at 10:04 AM on September 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Perhaps a derail from personal tales of How We Interact With Cereal, but it's chatfilter so anything goes,yes? We had a Cereality cafe open near us (it's a cafe which serves blends of normal cereals as found in grocery stores.) I said something to Mrs.LDS along the lines of "I don't want to live in a world where taking cereal, milk and putting it in a bowl for people too lazy to do that for themselves is a viable business model." They closed. Faith in humanity restored!
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

ooh, what phooky said, iow.
posted by taz at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2020

So as a Grown Up Adult[tm], I don't really eat cereal anymore.

I realize that we all live in accord with different directives, but just as no human over the age of thirty should ever include sleeping on a friend's couch in their plans, they should also no longer be eating cereal that comes out of a box with a brand name on it. They can do better. We all have to do better.
posted by philip-random at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Corn Flakes, with a tiny bit of sugar, is a comfort food for sure.

Chex or knockoff Chex are good for the cronch.

Rice Crispies are better as bars than as cereal, no "there" there.

Life cereal is so freaking sweet and I have zero restraint with it, so I only buy it in extremity, when I am really low.

All the kid stuff: Lucky Charms, Honeycomb, Captain Crunch--I used to love them but they are too sweet and too rough on my mouth, they've lost their appeal.

Yes I drink the milk why would I waste it?? These days it's oat milk though.
posted by emjaybee at 10:07 AM on September 7, 2020

Well into my thirties, I could not bring a box of Life cereal home without opening it on the drive back from the grocery store, shoveling dry fistfuls of it into my mouth, and eating the rest of the box with milk over the next 24-48 hours. This is why I had to stop buying cereal.
posted by mykescipark at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Bananas first (if we're lucky and we still have some) raisin bran (recommended amount on box), soy milk. Mix and eat.
posted by evilDoug at 10:11 AM on September 7, 2020

George Carlin on Rice Krispies (NSFW language)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:15 AM on September 7, 2020

Because I've turned into an urban homesteader in the pandemic, I've converted my cereal habit to only homemade granola.

When I was a kid, we were all plain Cheerios and Grape-Nuts because we were That Kind of Family. Sometimes fruit juice-sweetened Health Valley cereals like Orangeola and, like, oat bran flakes. Since then, a category of sugar cereal disguised as health food cereal has flourished (looking at you, Trader Joe's cereal aisle), so I was very confused for a while.
posted by the_blizz at 10:21 AM on September 7, 2020

I realize that we all live in accord with different directives, but just as no human over the age of thirty should ever include sleeping on a friend's couch in their plans, they should also no longer be eating cereal that comes out of a box with a brand name on it. They can do better. We all have to do better.

As they say, you do you.

Personally I don't have a sweet tooth, so Grape Nuts are at the sweetest end of the cereal spectrum for me. Shredded wheat (smalls or the original bigs) is right up my alley. Cheerios taste ok but I think they are mostly air; I get hungry mid-morning if I have them first thing.

Weetabix tastes ok, but I found that it went soggy faster than I could eat a brick.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:21 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I know I'm not the only person who likes her cereal soggy.
posted by Sassenach at 10:23 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I rarely buy cereal because it's HELLA EXPENSIVE for something that really lasts me like three days. Also, because I carry my groceries home, anything that takes up that much space in the two bags I can haul had best be worth it, and sadly three days is not worth it. Someday I will join the rest of America in getting a car, and grocery shopping will be a riot of all the bulky and/or heavy shit I love and rarely buy.

So mostly a small bag of granola and nice yogurt does me these days.

My favorite cereal as a kid was something I've forgotten the name of -- I'm pretty sure it was made by Quaker Oats, and it was mini-shredded-wheat-like nuggest, but the 'shreds' were thicker and kind of the color of cardboard. It was wonderfully sweet though, and had a great crunch and didn't get too soggy in milk. We were not allowed sugary cereals and DEFINITELY not allowed to put sugar on our wholesome grape nuts/cheerios, but this one got by. And Honey Bunches of Oats, which I still have a definite fondness for, which is not a thing I say often about the foods of my childhood.
posted by kalimac at 10:24 AM on September 7, 2020

Omg I pour milk over the cereal (*when* I have cereal, which is rarely, and when I do it's probably raisin bran). I use as little milk as possible then eat it way too fast to prevent sogginess. (Same with crackers in soup = I avoid sogginess. I don't understand this love for sogginess).
posted by marimeko at 10:25 AM on September 7, 2020

I seem to remember that what you were supposed to do with one of those big blocks of Shredded Wheat was to put it in a bowl and pour boiling water on it out of a kettle... and I don't remember what else after that. Does anyone else remember this being a thing?
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:30 AM on September 7, 2020

I haven't eaten cereal in many many years but I came from a big cereal consuming home. We ate them all at one point or another - though we tended to eat the more "healthy" cereals like Weetabix, Shreddies and Mini-wheat the most.

When we lived in the North, my dad would always go for meetings "Down South" (to Toronto) and bring us back the craziest sugar cereals he could find for Christmas - Apple Jack, Lucky Charms, the Captain Crunch variants, those monster cereals (Frankenberry, Booberry and Count Chocula), and weird movie or TV franchise tie ins (Star Wars, Mr. T, etc) as none of these were available at the local Hudson Bay store. We'd gorge on them until we were sick (partially induced by the cereal and partially the amount of UHT milk we consumed [fresh milk wasn't super common]).

In my 20s I used always eat this weird health food version of Corn Pops as a snack sans du lait. I've forgotten the name of it now but it came in a orange bag (no box) and different and often obscure health qualities plastered over the packaging. Man, I loved that stuff and was sad when my local health store stopped carrying it. I wish I remembered what it was called.

My favourite cereal themed previously (though it looks like the link has been hijacked).
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:34 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

My innermost cereal secret is that I freely mix'em, and will try any combination. ANY. COMBINATION. Krave and honey nut Cheerios? Yes please. Grape Nuts and puffed wheat? Land of contrasts, baby. Muesli and Lucky Charms? Why not? Cinnamon Chex and Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Check!

This may have contributed to my partner taking breakfast on the patio more than once. I am not ashamed; anything goes in my kitchen.

Except for pouring milk before cereal; that's just anarchy.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:35 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Frosted mini wheats in supercold whole milk.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:37 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

A layer of All Bran Buds, then a layer of Multi-Grain Cheerios, then half a banana sliced, then half a peach sliced, then a handful of blueberries if they are there, then a few bloops of vanilla yogurt spread like whipped topping, then milk. Enjoy while reading the weekend newspaper.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:37 AM on September 7, 2020

I am eating crispix out of the box right now. Very crunchy but doesn’t hurt my mouth, slightly sweet. I can’t drink milk but when I used to, I would use just a little milk so only the cereal on the bottom got wet, then scoop from the bottom first.
posted by mai at 10:41 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Growing up, I was the only girl with three brothers. Dad did the grocery shopping after work each Friday and would get one box of super sweet cereal (Cap’t Crunch or Cocoa Krispies) along with some “healthy” cereal (like Raisin Bran or Wheaties). Saturday morning it was, quite literally, you snooze you lose. I would wake up early just to make sure I got a bowl of the good stuff, because by 8am, the box would be empty. Could this be why I have so little will power when there’s sweet, non-nutritious food in the house? Most definitely! To this day I can’t buy a bag of cookies, or a gallon of ice cream, or a box of junk cereal because I feel like I have to hurry up and eat it before someone else does – even though I’m the only one in the house. Totally irrational.
posted by kbar1 at 10:48 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

This topic has been at the forefront of my mind lately, because a friend showed me this:


CEREAL LISTICLE! In classic listicle fashion, sometimes I nod, sometimes I go "hmm...", and sometimes I go "Excuse Me What?"

My friend showed me this after she reminisced about a cereal she ate growing up called "Product 19". The dang product lasted from 1967 to 2016, and yet I had never even heard of it. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the naming sessions.
posted by theatro at 10:57 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Nope nope nope to cereals. I did like them when I was a small child, like before ten. So I made it a special tradition that my kids could have cereals during the summer holiday, from those little one portion boxes. They loved it then, but they don't eat cereal today. Their boyfriends do, though, and I have to say that even the smell of it is disgusting to me.
I enjoy seeing my girls teach their guys to eat food for breakfast. Like, who said fried rice was a dinner food?
posted by mumimor at 10:58 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Grape Nuts and plain yogurt. I like texture and it doesn’t matter which goes into the bowl first.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:58 AM on September 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Hey, remember the single serving six piece variety packs with two of each kind that you used to get when you were camping and you and your two brothers would fight over the variety everyone wanted but there were only two of them so one of you would have to pout for the entire camping trip ruining it for everyone? GOOD TIMES!
posted by srboisvert at 10:59 AM on September 7, 2020 [13 favorites]

Also: I am now having flashbacks to those actual little cardboard records you could cut out of the back of certain cereal boxes, and play on your actual record player.

As a fellow Mefite pal said to me, whoever invented those was a genius, what a great marketing thing. You have to finish the cereal to start cutting the box apart, so get eating!
posted by theatro at 11:01 AM on September 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I realised the other day that my kids have never had cereal, as neither my wife nor I have ever bought it. And so they've missed out on that British holiday staple, the Kellogg's variety pack. I plan to rectify this on our next holiday (although I'm 90% sure they'll look at me as if I'm bonkers when I suggest that they pour milk on it.)
posted by pipeski at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

What I’d give for a fresh box of Honey Nut Clusters! Apparently this perfect cereal stopped being produced in 2012 due to lack of sales. Sad day.

Also, I am thoroughly anti-sog. My boyfriend will purposely allow his cereal to become soggy for minutes on end, and I’ll never understand. Full crunch or bust!
posted by sucre at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cereal first in a chilled bowl...

There's a Bloom County strip in which we learn that Otis likes a chilled bowl. Can't find a link.
posted by neuron at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I used to crush up potato chips, put them on top of about an equal volume of Sugar Crisp and then add enough butter for spoonfuls to stick together like popcorn balls. I also liked Cheerios with butter, Grape Nuts with butter, Cocoa Puffs with butter, and all the Chex cereals with butter.
posted by jamjam at 11:04 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cereal is best with no milk at all, or with milk consumed as a side drink in between mouthfuls of crunchy dry cereal. Fight me.
posted by sciatrix at 11:10 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't cereal but I aftermilk. Making German Frikadellen requires soaking bread rolls or baguette in milk, then squeezing out the excess. I always drink that excess because, frankly, it tastes great.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:11 AM on September 7, 2020

Hello my name is Crispy and how do you do? Crispy Critters Cereal is entirely new! Yes its indubitably, indubitably- delicious!

It wasn't. It was crap... but their jingle has slowly eaten my brain for the past 33 years.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:26 AM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Whenever I eat cold cereal, my cat gives her impression of Puss in Boots from Shrek in order to get the milk.
Doesn't matter if we pour milk for her at the same time, she wants my milk.

And she usually gets it, too.
(Fortunately, Small is not lactose intolerant, unlike some other cats I have known)
posted by cheshyre at 11:37 AM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

If it weren't so expensive, I'd eat Special K Red Berries (why red? why not "strawberries," which they are?) all the time. But a tiny box costs like 5 bucks, so I only get it on the rare occasions it is on BOGO or something. Got to eat it fairly quick or it gets too soggy.

So my mainstay for years has been Multi-Grain Cheerios — used to be Honey Nut, but I find the sweetness gets to me after a while. For the record, cereal first, then pour milk all over, and make sure to submerge the cheerios before eating, though not to the point of softness. It's an art!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:40 AM on September 7, 2020

Peanut butter Cap'n Crunch, a gum shredding delicious chore.
posted by Max Power at 11:40 AM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was in a non-sugary cereal home growing up, and alternated between Cheerios (occasionally honey nut), Chex, Raisin Bran, and maybe a couple other things. If I was in a situation where the little variety packs were available (camping, hotel breakfast bar), Apple Jacks + Froot Loops was the nectar of the gods.

Nowadays, I don't usually eat breakfast on workdays, but on the weekends I'll have Grape Nuts with raisins and honey with plain yogurt instead of milk.
posted by LionIndex at 11:51 AM on September 7, 2020

Peanuts, with Linus and Lucy

and I didn't read the whole thread so sorry for the cross-post?

Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs
posted by TDIpod at 11:58 AM on September 7, 2020

My kids like to mix cereal. It's called "having a mix-up." Now you know the correct terminology.

I just really, really like raisin Bran with ice cold whole milk.
posted by medusa at 12:09 PM on September 7, 2020

I used to love the little variety packs - the packs of 12 or so little boxes of different cereals. Of course, I never liked ALL of them - there were always some annoying grown-up style flavors like All Bran and some horrible berry-flavored abominations (although why I liked Froot Loops but not Frankenberry, I couldn't say), but I loved getting a different cereal every day. And I quite enjoyed the novelty of pouring MILK into a CARDBOARD BOX (well, into the wax-paper lining, but still).

If somebody set me up with a little collection of Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, Raisin Bran, and ... I dunno, some other random thing, I would be very happy.

And throw in a couple of Pop Tarts (chocolate with chocolate frosting, of course), please.

On preview:

TDIpod, I immediately thought of Linus and his quest to find something to read before his cereal goes soggy. (More Peanuts cereal strips.)
posted by kristi at 12:34 PM on September 7, 2020

My grandma made us eat Cheerios for breakfast and then would harangue us to drink the disgusting silty milk afterward. The disgusting warm silty milk. And that's why I don't eat cereal.
posted by HotToddy at 12:34 PM on September 7, 2020

Bananas first (if we're lucky and we still have some) raisin bran (recommended amount on box), soy milk. Mix and eat.
posted by evilDoug at 1:11 PM on September 7 [+] [!]

I didn't think I would see anything in this thread that surprised me, but - you don't just pour it into the bowl till it looks right??
posted by current resident at 12:39 PM on September 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hello my name is Crispy and how do you do? Crispy Critters Cereal is entirely new! Yes its indubitably, indubitably- delicious!

It wasn't. It was crap... but their jingle has slowly eaten my brain for the past 33 years.

Same, and I never even saw the commercial till I was an adult. When it came out, it was just the thing. Kids could not stop singing it.
posted by the_blizz at 1:04 PM on September 7, 2020

In terms of cereal secrets, I confess I am a spoon poker.
I don't like soggy at all, but a bit of dry cereal that has just been sunk -no, plunged- into very cold milk with the back of the spoon, then retrieved immediately for consumption? Mm.
Each little sailor has to be individually drowned before getting great-white-sharked. Getting enough free draft depth for total submersion, while still having enough bowl space for a top floating dry layer of cereal, often involves a multi-serving strategy; a cereal-first bowl, but that leaves extra milk, which you plan to absorb by pouring a half serving of cereal on top and shoving it under the surface bit by bit...
I've never understood that thing they do in movies, where someone sullenly pushes their peas around the plate with a fork. But I have been accused of..."Darling, I love you dearly. But why, when you eat a bowl of Rice Chex, must you...bother it so?"
posted by bartleby at 1:13 PM on September 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

Look. As an unsophisticated Yank, I’m willing to accept that a Wordshore post about mushy peas being a delicacy in the UK is somehow real. But just as there’s no way anyone, ever, has stood up to wipe, there’s no way anyone, ever, puts milk in the bowl before the cereal. Credulity can only be strained so far.
posted by cheapskatebay at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

Another cereal I ate quite a bit of that no one else would touch was that Life stuff.

There was just something off about it, probably from the extra protein they couldn't shut up about. But I ate it because it tasted off.

I ate all kinds of things as a kid that tasted off, like masses of pecan pith, all kinds of unsalted raw peanuts, including unshelled raw peanuts, lots of saved up apple seeds which I loved the bitterness of, various kinds of wax, beeswax of course, but also the wax tubes that contained the little doses of flavored liquids you could buy a candy stores, sometimes paraffin wax that people used to seal jam jars, even road tar, though I never swallowed it.

It was like after you ate all the really good food, you needed things that actually tasted kind of terrible. Not spoiled things, just awful things. Animal crackers had a bitter kind of ethereal ammonia aftertaste that might have been the reason they were so addictive for me.
posted by jamjam at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I feel like I'm pointing out the really obvious by noting that cereal is one of the best "too hot/lazy to cook" dinners for single people that exists.

At some point I swear there was a Thing about putting orange juice on your flake cereal. Don't remember ever trying this, though.

Supposedly there is an "ice cream + cereal bar" (????) opening up down the street from me soon-ish. This is either an AMAZING idea or the Worst Thing Ever. I guess I'll find out eventually.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Frosted Mini Wheats stirred into cold sweet fruity yogurt. Never milk.
posted by TwoToneRow at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like my cereal soaked but not soggy. I put the cereal in the bowl, top with sweetener if necessary, then pour milk into a crevasse in the cereal pile, to about halfway up the pile. I scoop from the bottom as I eat, so that some of the cereal at the top of the pile stays dry.

As for type of cereal: So many kinds are my favorite. I love granola and Grapenuts and raisin bran. Frosted Mini-Wheats, mainly because of being a bizarre hybrid of healthy haystack and thick sugar crust. Lucky Charms, with its contrast of tasteless beige bits and sweet festive marshmallows. Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, eaten out of a punch bowl with serving spoon in front of Saturday morning cartoons, the inside of my mouth would be shredded to ribbons but I loved it still. Peanut Butter Crunch. Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, that turned the milk a sweet sugary flavor. I don't even know what people mean by warm aftermilk, mine was always nicely cool and sweet.

These days I've been liking Quaker Oat Squares. They are a little bit sweet, and the pieces are sturdy so they stay crunchy in milk and are also good for snacking right out of the box.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:57 PM on September 7, 2020

One of the best things that ever happened to me as a small child was the day my mom discovered we were all out of cereal, so she dumped all of the assorted crumbs from the cookie jar into my bowl and let me eat it for breakfast topped with milk like cereal. Only ever happened the one time, but I lived in hope.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:02 PM on September 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

We used to always get mini-box variety packs when I was a kid and there was a certain order they were eaten in. First were the Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks and such. Then the chocolate cereals which were fine but not my favorite. Then way at the bottom were Smacks. I hated Smacks. If there was anything else I'd eat that first even if I had to start with a new variety pack. So we'd end up with 6 packs of Smacks just sitting in the pantry collecting dust until you had nothing else left.
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:14 PM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


I feel robbed.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2020 [9 favorites]

Cereal and the internet will be inextricably intertwined for the rest of my life.

Around 1995-ish when my rural Vermont town got the internet, I got sucked into Usenet and was blown away by how there seemed to be a newsgroup for EVERYTHING. I found the "alt.cereal" newsgroup, who are these people and why are they talking about cereal? I laughed to myself and in true gen-x style, I ironically joined in the absurd conversation about childhood nostalgia and people posting sightings of the new release of the Monster Cereals.

Then, of course I became indistinguishable from everyone else. Ironic, non-ironic. Who cared? It was strangely exhilarating to be chatting about our outrage that Blueberry Morning, the greatest cereal on the planet, was being pulled from the shelves due to low sales.

Then the nostalgia thing: you see, as a child growing up in the 70s, with conscientous parents who only allowed me one box of sugared cereal a year, I took my choice very seriously. Circa 1976 or so, my choice was "Freakies", a psychedelic bowl of sweetness in every spoonful. Sitting down in front of the TV on a Saturday morning with a bigass bowl of Freakies watching The Krofft Supershow, is literally peak 1970s. Try to find something else, I'll wait.

Gather around kids, cause back in those days, cereals often had prizes in them. Cool shit like combination yo-yo whistles, and lo and behold, my Freakies box had this awesome magnet of Boss-Moss, the leader of the Freakies. I loved that thing and it graced my refrigerator for years, until one day it didn't.

Flash-forward to 1995, here comes the Internet again, where I discovered there were ways to buy things online. Really weird and esoteric things, like twenty year old magnets found in cereal boxes. Well, my mind was officially turned inside out when I discovered on the web that someone had made a zine called...ready? "The Freaky Magnet". Like wtf?

So I ordered a copy, and it arrived, and not only that but there was a classified section where you could but THE ACTUAL MAGNET. Which I did. My life was complete.

Cereal is fucking awesome btw.
posted by jeremias at 2:33 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh wow just remembered the time in undergrad when I had Lucky Charms with Bailey's Irish Cream and ended up with regret and lamentation
posted by Bunny Boneyology at 3:06 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I f'ing love cereal and I'm nearly 40. Anyone who says cereal's only for younger people just don't like having fun, IMHO. :P

Hard to pick favorites, but I'm on a peanut butter kick, so Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheerios and PB Chex have been my cereals of choice lately. (I'd like Reese's Puffs better if the corn-based puffs felt more substantial I think. I recall them having an older recipe I liked better. Don't get me started on the travesty that is Peanut Butter Crunch.) Malt-o-Meal S'mores is just a good all around cereal, and if I'm in the mood for substance over sweet I'll have Grape Nuts or Wheat Chex with a drizzle of honey on them. Always cereal first, then milk.

There are a bunch of discontinued cereals I pine for tho. Almond Delight was probably my favorite cereal growing up, and it bugs me that no one really makes anything like that anymore. Raisin Bran Crunch probably comes closest, but I'm kinda meh on raisins. They also used to have strawberry-filled shredded wheat squares that were awesome; the Mixed Berry Frosted Mini Wheats just don't hold a candle to them. Then Honey Graham Life disappeared. Now you might say 'but Golden Grahams exist!' and look, it's just not the same. They weren't quite as sweet, felt more dense and filling, and it was just a really nice flavor.

Other than cereal-then-milk I don't really have any other rules about cereal. I feel like it's one of those foods that lets you approach it the way you want to without judgement. You do milk-first? Cereal for lunch/supper/desert? Drink the cereal milk or no? You do you.
posted by Aleyn at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2020

When I was around 6, my mom bought us this granola type cereal called Heartland. I and a friend had recently been given the sex talk, and took great glee in annoying our mothers by gigglingly referring to it as Hard-On cereal.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:24 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

If I saw someone put milk in the bowl first I don't think I could help but get up and leave the room without saying a word. Some things simply cannot be tolerated.

Cereal is the perfect food and rules must be observed.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 PM on September 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

no milk
posted by thelonius at 3:38 PM on September 7, 2020

I don't eat cereal much anymore, but it used to be my breakfast go to. I had completely forgotten that Blueberry Morning existed, but that stuff was my cereal of choice mid to late 20s, so thank you jeremias. Golden Grahams was my high school breaking of fast choice, and before that, Crunchberries.
posted by mollweide at 4:05 PM on September 7, 2020

Cereal and milk in separate containers, mixed only within the mouth. This is the only way to maintain a sufficiently satisfying crunch.

Even as a kid, I was never a fan of sweet stuff first thing in the morning, so cereal meant Cheerios or Kashi or maybe Crispix. This is important context for my innermost cereal secret: (Plain) Cheerios work well with savory accompaniments, including many cheeses. The salty tang of feta makes for a particularly satisfying combination. Yes, I am a monster. No, I do not repent.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 4:28 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cereal first, then freshly-shaken whole milk poured slowly, sufficient to just to wet all cereal.

Favorites were Vitacrunch Almond, no sugar; Sugar Pops, no sugar, no milk.

Raisin Bran, paved with sugar until capillary action could no longer wet it, then excavated a spoon at a time from sugar to the bottom of the bowl.

Bowl emptied of milk by drinking from the rim, swished to entrain sugar sludge.
posted by the Real Dan at 4:48 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I can't buy cereal because I will eat the entire box in an afternoon.
posted by simmering octagon

Is this wrong? Should I stop teaching others how to do that?
posted by Revvy at 5:34 PM on September 7, 2020

What is wrong with you guys? I mean, WHAT ABOUT OATMEAL?

Okokok, to be more on topic, my favorite cereal was a Quaker all right, but it was their Corn Meal Mush, a super great name if there ever was one. You had to water-soak the gritty corn flour for a rather long recommended time before being permitted to bring the whole thing to a boil oatmeal style. My mom only had enough patience for this operation to make it for me on very rare occasion.

It was a taste lost to my palette until, decades later, I first savored the delights of a moist hot sope in an exotic Mexican restaurant. It also prefigured a subsequent motor trip through the so-called Old South, vainly seeking grits at every breakfast stop. Sheesh what a letdown.
posted by Droll Lord at 5:40 PM on September 7, 2020


I sit down to pour the cereal and milk into the bowl, but I stand up to eat it.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:45 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Milk and I went our separate ways decades ago.

Oats, water, banana, and a little honey have been my breakfast ever since.
posted by Pouteria at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2020

So many cereal thoughts.

Currently, like for the last five years or so, my only cereal purchase is Kashi “Dark Cocoa Karma,” a non-frosted mini-wheat with a little gob of not-sweet dark chocolate in the middle. I eat it dry, often as a sort of dessert choice after something else. Just like half a bowl.

I’ve been a mini-wheats stalwart for over twenty years, now, of one kind or another, and the dark chocolate ones are my favorite.

Growing up, I was a cereal-first, milk-over-cereal, drink-what’s-left kid, all the way.
Sugar on plain Cheerios, if that’s what we had. Not a ridiculous amount, or I’d be accused of “wasting sugar” or some shit. Undissolved sugar in the milk, yeah, spoon it up.

I have an uncle who would eat a bowl of cereal (probably Wheaties or something equally un-fun), then add more cereal, eat, and repeat until the milk in the bowl was gone.

I have had orange juice on cereal instead of milk on those hurried mornings when the milk ran out. It’s not terrible, but it’s not good.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:38 PM on September 7, 2020

I eat my cereal from a cup, dry, no liquids. Crunch crunch crunch.
posted by Jacen at 6:41 PM on September 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Back in the 70s, Honeycomb was the bomb. Then, they came out with "New and Improved!!!" and it was trash. I think Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries befell a similar fate, (blue crunch berries? WTF?). Grape Nuts, add milk, add lots of sugar, let it sit for a while. Mushy and crunchy at the same time. Magic!
posted by Windopaene at 6:55 PM on September 7, 2020

my grandmother never had cereal.
Her father was an auditor for Postum circa 1897 and after the farm was sold in 1903, he sold Metzgers, like the grape nuts would break your teeth if not soaked for a Post toasty grind. She avowed not to put me through that. She loved Wheat germ and eggs.

A cereal of true merit would be Buttered toast Raw honey and peanut butter crunch.
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 PM on September 7, 2020

If any amount of Frosted Mini-Wheats, up to and including both boxes of a Costco family pack, is left in physical reach I *will* eat them, like popcorn, until they’re all gone or sanity intervenes and we are physically distanced from each other.
posted by bjrubble at 9:40 PM on September 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

For the dry cereal snackers, and 'we'll bring our own popcorn' types: what's your opinion of Hot Buttered Cheerios?
[Old Bay doesn't really work. But I do have vague fond memories of lightly sautéd Cheerio knockoffs, poured into a brown paper lunch bag with loads of garlic salt and cardboard-can parmesan and shaken to coat.]
posted by bartleby at 9:52 PM on September 7, 2020

I used to love cereal, coco pops were always my favourite, and I also loved just drinking milk, but my preferred type is skim/skimmed milk which for some reason isn’t available in France, so I completely stopped, and then this year became intolerant to dairy, and the thought of oat milk on cereal is just not appealing, especially since it’s a different colour to regular milk. About to try overnight oats for breakfast this week!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:45 AM on September 8, 2020

Cereal is all about the texture. Turning cereal into sog is foodcrime and will not be tolerated.

One spoon at a time of dry cereal, add cold milk from an adjacent glass, mix in mouth. Each mouthful is easily regulated to the appropriate cereal:milk ratio and soggification is delayed until cereal is already in the subject's stomach.

This is objectively the correct scientific method of eating cereal, so you can keep your contemptuous glances to yourself okay.

In the utopian space future where this approach is universally accepted and obvious, the prevalence of other regressive methods of cereal-eating in this thread will be a source of perplexity to space scholars. “But how did our ancestors put up with eating a cereal bowl of warm soggy mush?”, they will cry, bewildered at the primitive state of 21st-Century humanity, “were bobince and wellifyouinsist really the only sane people left in a world gone off the rails?”.

(Then they will close their MetaFilter Studies workpads and polish their quangtos ready to receive the morning dose of Neutrino Puffs into their digestive sacs, with the stellar-bovine excretions teleported in goddamn separately.)
posted by BobInce at 5:47 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cereal is disgusting and I have always felt this way. (Honestly, liquid milk is disgusting. Milk shake, ice cream, cheese, butter, yogurt — do something and you improve it so much!) As a kind I was always angry when they gave it to us at camp as "treat". How is it possibly better than a proper breakfast with eggs?

I do however eat Greek yogurt with museli now, which I suppose I must admit is actually just Very Chunky Cereal.
posted by dame at 5:51 AM on September 8, 2020

saladin: "Grape Nuts is the king of cereals. Yes, I am a dad."

Some are born to Grape Nuts, some have Grape Nuts thrust upon them.
posted by chavenet at 6:37 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd be willing to try the hot buttered cheerios--after all, I already like Chex Mix, a major component of which is technically breakfast cereal. But for some reason, in my mind plain Cheerios-qua-Cheerios are sweeter than Chex, so turning the dial over to Savory with them feels like it takes more mental effort. Hmmm. (This sense of relative sweetness is all just connotations in my mind--I haven't actually eaten plain Cheerios or plain Chex in many many years.)
posted by theatro at 8:01 AM on September 8, 2020

“World-class cereal-eating is a dance of fine compromises. The giant heaping bowl of sodden cereal, awash in milk, is the mark of the novice. Ideally one wants the bone-dry cereal nuggets and the cryogenic milk to enter the mouth with minimal contact and for the entire reaction between them to take place in the mouth. Randy has worked out a set of mental blueprints for a special cereal-eating spoon that will have a tube running down the handle and a little pump for the milk, so that you can spoon dry cereal up out of a bowl, hit a button with your thumb, and squirt milk into the bowl of the spoon even as you are introducing it into your mouth. The next best thing is to work in small increments, putting only a small amount of Cap’n Crunch in your bowl at a time and eating it all up before it becomes a pit of loathsome slime, which, in the case of Cap’n Crunch, takes about thirty seconds.”
― Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
posted by Stark at 8:37 AM on September 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've always liked cereal and still like the ones I did when I was a kid, Cap'n Crunch, Golden Grahams, Sugar Crisp, and anything else that's way too sweet. I remember buying some Froot Loops when I was in Japan and my wife (well not at the time) complained about how sweet it was, and I looked and I think the first ingredient was sugar. Now in my middle-age I also can eat more boring cereals like Corn Flakes, Shredded Wheat, or Shreddies without any additional sugar but as a kid I wouldn't have been able to stomach it. I still buy cereal but we don't eat it too often because it uses up too much milk and finishing the milk means I need to go grocery shopping. But I'm a sucker for new things so if I see some new version of a cereal there's a good chance I'll try it out, like Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerios, but not the Timbits cereal because there's no way that'll be good and I resent Tim Horton's place in our national consciousness.

My biggest cereal "innovations" were using hot chocolate or coffee as the liquid. Coffee and Froot Loops is a great way to wake up quickly (or stay awake if it's been a long night).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:10 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Everything I love goes away, in the end. I haven’t seen any sign of Honey Nut Shredded Wheat in a couple years, Alpha-Bits disappeared and then came back wrong, Post also ruined Honeycomb but apparently everyone complained so they went back to the old formula but no one complained and Alpha-Bits stayed ruined until they disappeared again. I’m into Crispix but I keep expecting it to disappear too. For a while during the pandemic it was hard to find.

As kids we weren’t allowed to have sugar cereals except sometimes my sister and I wore our mom down so bad, often related to having to move. I still recall though getting SO EXCITED about the ads for Quisp and Quake (which looked like they were done by the folks who did Rocky and Bullwinkle) that we screamed hysterically until Mom caved and bought some. Twin sis got Quake and Space Nerd Me got Quisp. A while ago they brought it back temporarily and I bought some, still have my Quisp box. Sis also liked chocolate flavored Malt-O-Meal, another thing that was discontinued.

I always laugh about the rebranding of kids’ cereals that happened in the ‘80s. Sugar Crisp became Golden Crisp, Sugar Pops became Corn Pops...what a load of doublespeak hooey.

I always leave milk in the bowl because somehow in my cat bastard’s seniorhood it’s become a thing where he has to sit in my lap and drink the leftovers. I know it’s not good for him, don’t @ me , but he’s old and it’s the one time he’s nice to me, so.

I always liked that Spike the vampire appreciated having Weetabix crumbled into his blood because it gave it some texture. He knew what was up.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:33 PM on September 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Homemade Chex Mix (from an old recipe called "Cocktail Hash") is a traditional holiday snack in my family. The way my dad makes it is painfully salty, as in a handful will literally dehydrate you for the day. Of course the way I make it is much better (or I can just take what he sends and dilute it with extra uncooked cereal). He took out the peanuts years ago (we have peanut allergies in the family) so the only non-cereal main ingredient is pretzel sticks, which, I suppose you could eat in a bowl with milk if you were dedicated enough.
posted by rikschell at 3:51 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

There are two cats here who vastly prefer kibble to their wet food and though that confuses me it does give me some insight into peoples’ love of breakfast cereal.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:55 PM on September 8, 2020

When did pretzel sticks become a part of the Chex Mix recipe and how can we make it stop?
posted by sjswitzer at 5:57 PM on September 8, 2020

Theatro, I LOVED Product 19 when I was a kid. Such a shame they don't make it anymore. I can remember exactly how it tasted! It stayed crunchy in milk, IIRC, and each flake was shaped like a tiny bowl, to catch just enough milk.

My go-to cereal these days is Special K, but I've gone through Grape Nuts and Crispix and Chex and Honey Nut Cheerios phases.

Cereal is best served with very very cold organic 1% milk. My boyfriend prefers skim. That is like serving it with water.

When I was little and our family was on cross country road trips, we bought the six pack of tiny cereal boxes, a mix of sugar cereal and regular cereal, for breakfasts and snacks. Since my parents strictly forbade sugar cereal at home, these vacations were our only chance to have sweetened cereal, so I used all my eldest-sibling power to get the kinds I wanted.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:32 PM on September 10, 2020

I still love grape nuts with plain no fat yogurt. I remember having it as an after school snack as a kid and every now and again I have to have it again in the afternoon. Never in the morning.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:39 AM on September 11, 2020

I love cereal. Always have. I was raised on Familia Bircher Muesli, and then had long periods of eating Brinta for breakfast every day. No, that's okay, I don't know most of the stuff you people are talking about either.
On holiday in the UK we had Weetabix. Back then, you could not get it here, so that was Festive. My father sometimes cooked oatmeal for us, and sweetened it with brown sugar. That was wonderful.

Nowadays I don't like the sweeter varieties as much as I used to. We shop across the border a lot, and come home with Haferflecks, Weetabix again, some really nice mueslis (our neighbours to the East are good at muesli) and sometimes something cinnamon-y or chocolaty, but those are almost always a bit sweeter than I'd make them. All of those are for Sunday morning, to be had with milk (good 1.5% milk in glass bottles from a local farm) and fresh berries.
On weekdays, I eat a nonsugary, hardcore basic muesli with lots of wheat- and oatflakes, with milk and a small apple. The apple has to be Elstar. No other options, or at least, no good ones.

Oh and: cacao nibs. A spoonful in every bowl.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:27 PM on September 11, 2020

Apple Raisin Crisp was my favorite cereal in the last era when I remember enjoying cereal and milk. Honey Nut Cheerios is probably the only cereal I could stand now, but it's been years.
posted by emelenjr at 6:56 AM on September 14, 2020

I don't eat much cereal anymore, but Shreddies are one of the few I do eat on a regular basis. I blame it on growing up in Niagara Falls, Ontario and the fact that my elementary school took us on a tour of the Shreddies factory. Every. Year. That was the big field trip for our little country elementary school. The Shreddies factory. But I guess those Shreddies propaganda tours paid off long-term dividends for Nabisco (although I think Shreddies are owned by someone else now).

Cereal first then milk. Eat cereal fast before it gets mushy.

I still put sugar on Cornflakes and Rice Crispies. I long ago sopped putting sugar in my coffee, tea, on grapefruit, rhubarb, and whatever else I used to add sugar to as a kid.
posted by fimbulvetr at 2:05 PM on September 14, 2020

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